KEEPING THE TREKKING ROUTES CLEAN
Not until I started hiking and trekking in the mountains of Bhutan, I realized how beautiful our mountain trails are. Also travelling to other countries has rather convinced me that Bhutan’s landscapes are more pristine, and a beauty.
However, I have been equally disappointed to see how we are already polluting various hiking routes with plastic waste, bottles and cans. When I saw a pile of plastic waste scattered near a scared lake along the Drukpath earlier this year, I wondered what kind of person would litter such sacred places and still not feel guilty. It takes days of walking to reach these places.I felt a sense of anger thinking how uncivilized we human can be at times. These trashes are not even heavy to carry them back.
Just recently, I completed a two week’s hike to Jomolhari, Jangothang base camp. It was a pleasant hike except for walking on muddy-pebbled route for two days. But these are natural hindrances, challenging yet a loved experience for hikers. However, what was most upsetting was to see electric poles erected along the route, almost till the end of the journey. As a nature-lover for my part, it broke my heart to see such eyesore against the (otherwise) natural spectacular landscape. Well, this is a long debated issue. These poles are there to stay and all we can do is ignore them like they never existed.
It might sound nonsensical but it really was depressing to see concrete structures like toilets and kitchen halls built right in front of the Mount Jomolhari peak view. These structures stood prominently in-between the beholders from wherever you stand or camp in Jangothang camp.
I wish they had built these structures at the other side of the camp, not right in front of Jomolhari peak. Besides, there is so much space around the camp.
Worst still, most of these toilets are blocked and out of use. This made some of the campers, especially tour guides, cook and horsemen, to litter around the stream area and the ruins of an old fortress at the camp.
First day when I arrived there, I was excited to see the ruins, scenic with Jomolhari in the background. I kept visiting the ruins next day only to see more human faeces, used tissue papers and others. I was saddened to realize the area around the old fortress has now become an open toilet.
I hope the caretakers at Jangothang restore these toilets. If not, I wish they dismantle the structures and build them, on the otherside, without coming in-between the beholder and Jomolhari peak.
Bhutan has such beautiful hiking spots and mountains; lets keep them cleaner and make them better.